An unabridged reading of this original BBC Books novel featuring the Sixth Doctor, as played on TV by Colin Baker.
When an RAF squadron shoots down an unidentified aircraft over Turelhampton, the village is immediately evacuated. But why is the village still guarded by troops in 2001?
When a television documentary crew break through the cordon looking for a story, they find they've recorded more than they bargained for. Caught up in both a deadly conspiracy and a historical mystery, retired Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart calls upon his old friend the Doctor.
Half-glimpsed demons watch from the shadows as the Doctor and the Brigadier travel back in time to discover the last - and deadliest - secret of the Second World War.
Duration: eight hours approx.
©2016 BBC Worldwide Limited (P)2016 BBC Worldwide Limited
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A competent enough tale but one that does seem rather arbitrarily assigned to the 6th Doctor. Apart from occasional references to his outfit, pretty much any incarnation >2 could be pictured in the tale. India Fisher does have a 6th Doctor pedigree, true, but I more commonly associate her with the 8th so it did not help in picturing the right regeneration and, if anything, this feels more like a 3rd Doctor adventure, especially since the Brigadier features so prominently and one cannot help but wonder whether it was re-assigned because of the wartime 3rd doctor adventure 'Last of the Gaderene' written just before it (I believe). The Brigadier is certainly the story's greatest asset: strong, capable and independent.
There is a more than cursory use of time-travel, which is better than some stories manage but the use of real historical characters does make for some awkward changes of gear. The are some moments where the writer starts having a bit of fish-out-of-water fun and then seems to realise that it might be unseemly for the Doctor to be having a good time with Hitler and does not quite know what tone to settle for. The alien presence is pre-watershed in its threat (there is that 3rd Doctor feeling again) which makes for an odd contrast with the handling of the Nazis who dish out unvarnished murder.
One big thing, though: I found the resolution scene to be rather grating. It is a little difficult to address without giving away the plot but the Doctor takes advantage of a psychopath and engineers a situation that would not be out of place in a greek tragedy. There has been the occasional ethical faux-pas in the series but the author is surely having trouble reading a moral compass: this is someone who would not blow up the Daleks without pangs of conscience (4th incarnation). It makes the Peri strangling seem minor.
"Sometimes there isn't a happy ending"
Solid story, well constructed and interesting, but is it a classic...no.
Seamlessly merged established fact with fantasy.
Can't reveal withou giving it away.
There are parts of this story that seem to be lifted directly from other books. Last of the Gadrarine for example. How many alien space ships crash landed during the Second World War and how many trains dimensional alien species are there ??? Felt a bit samey.
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